A Case Study in Transmisogyny: The Colbert Report & The Daily Show

adams appleBy Leela Ginelle, PQ Monthly

“Governor Bob Riley, of Alabama, is fond of banana pudding…when served off the breasts of a Thai shemale.” – The Colbert Report

Isn’t Stephen Colbert funny? He’s a satirist.

“…President Elect, Obama is meeting every day with his transition team, or in beltway lingo, ‘trannies’.” – The Colbert Report

He pretends he’s a conservative pundit, like Bill O’Reilly, but you can tell he isn’t. He never makes jokes that are actually hurtful to minority groups, like gays and lesbians. It’s more like he’s making fun of conservatives who in real life would make those jokes. Clever, huh?

“C’mon democratic party. Play along! If your party does not implode, we’ll have to go with our backup scandal. Ed Rendell is a tranny!” – The Colbert Report

There seems to be one exception to this, though. A group he appears to think is beneath dignity, and that feels free to bully. A set of slurs he finds hilarious.

“Here’s a general rule of thumb I have: if you don’t know whether you’ve made a particular mistake more or less than 50 times, that’s not really a mistake. At that point, it’s something you do.

For instance, how many times have I accidentally picked up a tranny hooker at a truck-stop? I wanna say it’s in the 50s, but it could be higher. I-I-i- guess what I’m saying is I’m nearsighted?” – The Colbert Report

This consistent ridicule is completely unbalanced by any positive representation on the program. Transwomen are purely unseen punching bags, brought out for a quick “laugh.”

Colbert: Right, because no one wants a transient—y’know— swimming in your pool. But listen, I believe, that whether you’re a Mexican or a tranny, you should be able to pick vegetables.

Cartwright: Transient farm workers don’t have anything to do with the — with transgender people.

Colbert: Ok, well my apologies. My apologies to Mexicans. – The Colbert Report

Stephen Colbert and his show suffer no loss of luster for this behavior, even as actual transgender women suffer 53% of all lgbtq violent crimes and remain 50 times more likely than any other population to contract HIV.

John Stewart: “But, as always in these debates, it’s left to the longest shot to say the craziest thing. I give you Ohio Representative, Dennis Kucinich.”

Clip of Dennis Kucinich: I’d nominate any gay to the Supreme Court, or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered person to the Supreme Court (as long as they were ready to uphold Roe v. Wade)

John Stewart: “Yes, Yes. All rise for the honorable Justice Chick with Dick!” – The Daily Show

Colbert started as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which is also revered for its thoughtful, enlightened take on the ridiculous world of politics and the media that cover it.

Stewart: But Cow and Chipmunk are not alone! They are joined by Transvestite, who worries that her true gender will be revealed by this new system.

Voiceover with fake translation: I am afraid that when I lumber out of my apartment in a tight dress with my scrotum taped back and my large hands covering my adams apple, somewhere, some bureaucrat will know I am a dude.

Both seem to think there’s something wrong with being a transgender woman. I can almost sympathize, since I think there’s something wrong with being a transmisogynist, cis-supremecist bigot.

“That’s why, fellas, always look for the adams apple! That’s a pro tip. Then, look for the adam’s penis” – The Colbert Report

“This person, that person? That’s the phrase I use when I’m talking about Jackie, the ‘person’ I met in the meat-packing district with an adam’s apple and hands like canoe paddles.” – The Colbert Report

They seem to think that a person who was assigned male and transitioned is inherently ugly. Personally, I think transgender women are beautiful, and that the people who try to humiliate them should be called out for it.

If you’d like to let Colbert and Stewart know this material is offensive to you, there’s a change.org petition that’s been created for that purpose: https://www.change.org/petitions/jon-stewart-and-stephen-colbert-reject-transphobia-and-respect-gender-identity.

As for myself, until I hear as many apologies from the two as I’ve heard “jokes” like these, I’ll get my news and “laughs” elsewhere.

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